Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Second Interview
At about 10:30AM Saturday morning I waltzed into Best Buy ready for my first interview. I was early, so I poked around and checked out the store. It was about the same as I remember it. A few things have changed with the layout of the store since I last worked there six or more years ago. But the demographics were about the same. A mix of highschool aged and early twenty-somethings manning the posts. About the only older fellow I noticed was a retiree running the Loss Prevention podium by the door.

At around 11:00AM I wandered to the customer service desk and alerted them that I was there to be interviewed. They parked me off to the side of customer service where there were some chairs for customers to wait in while their PC's were worked on. This waiting period gave me a good opperunity to spy on the "Geek Squad" bench that I would be working at. They had certainly cleaned up that area. When I was working there, it was a sad little extension to customer service with little to do other than send out PC's for repair somewhere else. Now, it was a bright orange and black "Geek Squad" center. They have a nice line up of overhead flat screens, and mounted keyboards. So you can drop a PC and plug er' in for service. There were two employees working the counter and they were keeping pretty busy with a small line of customers forming. One woman brought a PC in, and they hooked it up for a "quick analysis". The screen read "NTLDR not found or missing". If you have seen this message before, it doesn't need much analyzing to realize that this won't be a quick fix. At this point, they sent the customer away to shop around and they began a virus scan from a bootable CD.

About 11:15AM a young girl emerged from what used to be (and probably still is) a conference room. She walked me back to the "storage room" to be interviewed. She apoligized for the mess. The interview area was just a couple of folding chairs in the corner of a messy closet full of cleaning supplies and junk. In my day of working there, this was known as "the smoking room". She found that rather amusing, because they had stopped letting people smoke inside years before she started working there. She says "when I came here, I wondered why this room had it's own ventilation system".

It was a little strange being interviewed by someone so young, but then it is a retail job. I will probably be one of the few "older" people there. It's actually quite refreshing. I have good memories of working in that store because the people were a lot of fun to work with. It will be a nice change to having worked with people who take their jobs far too seriously. Ah, but focus. I am being interviewed.

I wasn't ready for the questions. "Give us one time when you helped someone, but you didn't have to". I tried to explain that in the training industry, that's "what we do all the time". It was hard coming up with anything specific. "Would you call yourself dependable?". "Yes!", that one was easy. "Tell us about a time that you let someone down on a committment and felt bad about it". I totally drew a blank on that one. "Work related?", I asked. She said, "It can be anything ... I just have to write down something". I replied, "I'm sure in all my years of marriage I have let my wife down a couple of times. That makes me feel lousy ... but I can't think of anything specific". Good enough, next question.

I could see that this interview was more of a formality than a hiring process. They had all ready looked at my information and were pleased. "I see you are A+ certfified", she said. "Yes", I added, "I currently hold seven CompTIA certifications". She nodded. She admittidly knew nothing about the IT field. I was being interviewed by the Operations Manager. He day to day tasks are financial, not really technical.

After 15 minutes or so of strange questions, and extra paperwork, she said "I have no problem recommending you for a third interview". This was actually only my first interview, but I wasn't going to argue. At that point she took me out to meet the store manager who she said "is really cool". He was stuck on the phone at the time, probably trying to put out a fire with a customer. So she popped open the master schedule and found a spot for me. "Monday at six?". I agreed. And so, tomorrow at six, I will have my third and final interview with the store manager.

I would have to go out of my way NOT to get this job. It then dawned on my that I would need black pants. I'm not sure how much of the "Geek Squad" uniform they provide. I'm hoping the clip-on tie is something the store provides. It's not something that I would wear to any other function, and I don't know of anyone off hand selling them. The same goes for "short sleeve" white button up shirts. Nobody is selling those during the cold months. The rest of the store wears company owned Polo shirts. So maybe they will flip the bill for the white button up shirts. At any rate, I know for sure they aren't buying my pants. And I don't have a single pair of black pants.

So off to the the thrift shops I went. I had to hit about three in all, and out of that I got two pairs of good fitting pants. One pair was $3.99 with 50% off. Can't beat that! There was nowhere to try them on, so buying them was a gamble. But after a good wash, I slipped into them. Like a glove.

Now, as my weekend rolls to a close I have to put my priorities in order. I am teaching/mentoring a woman on Microsoft Access the first three days next week. I really don't know why. I don't use Access. But they volunteered me because "Steve has taught that before". She will certainly be asking me how to do things, that I won't know how to do. But nobody at the office wanted to hear that. They had made promises without speaking to me about it. If it all goes to hell in a hand-basket I will surely be blamed. I LOVE MY JOB.

I also need to be studying for my last MCSE exam, 70-298. I have done very little to prepare for this test, and I have to schedule to take the exam on Friday. I would like to plan it so that by the time Thursday rolls around I will be "cramming" instead of "starting to study for it". Time will tell.

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